By Kevin Boneske
ASHWAUBENON – The village’s Site Plan Review Committee backed a plan Sept. 7 to renovate the former Burger King property at 2430 S. Oneida St. into a Starbucks.
The committee agreed not to include a traffic study on the condition if the public safety department determines there is a traffic issue, Starbucks will look at being able to route vehicles in front of the patio area along Anderson Drive into the main parking lot.
Community Development Director Aaron Schuette said no major changes will take place for the property’s traffic flow with the drive-through still located in the back and the parking lot in front.
Schuette said exterior renovations will include painting the existing brick, removing existing wood siding and adding wood-finished metal paneling with concealed fasteners.
Because there are environmental issues with the property at the corner of Oneida Street and Anderson Drive, he said the existing parking lot will be ground up with an asphalt layer being put on top to not expose the cap above any contaminated soil.
Todd Waller of Venture West Development appeared remotely to discuss the renovation project before the committee.
Waller said he didn’t believe a traffic study was warranted because renovating the former Burger King into a Starbuck wouldn’t result in a change in the property’s use.
“We’re simply replacing the traffic that was already there,” he said.
Waller said he understood why Chick-fil-A, which is constructing a restaurant on the other side of Oneida Street by Bay Park Square, was required by the village to do a study because the new building would add traffic volume to the area.
“I didn’t think that the impact (of locating a Starbucks in a former Burger King building) would be anything different than what’s been on site for the past 20 years,” he said.
Waller said the drive-through pick-up window is being moved to handle one or two cars more in line.
“Compared to a typical Starbucks site, this site is definitely larger,” he said. “It has more parking stalls than a typical Starbucks.”
In addition to accessing the property from Oneida Street, Waller said there is another access point on Anderson Drive.
“Most Starbucks (buildings) are right around 2,200 square feet,” he said. “This one is right around 2,700, so they’re going to have a large café area… with lots of indoor seating.”
Village President Mary Kardoskee said having a Chick-fil-A across Oneida Street “could create some traffic issues,” and Anderson Drive could be busy right before the start of a school day.
“I think that’s probably why the engineering department wanted, highly, to consider doing a traffic study,” she said.
But committee member Dan Pamperin pointed out Chick-fil-A did its traffic study of the area when Burger King was still open.
“Why are we going make this poor guy go through the expense of another traffic study for a very similar facility when (the) Chick-fil-A traffic study was not impactful?” he said. “We did not make any changes to anything on that intersection, and Burger King was there.”
Committee members discussed the merits of requiring a traffic study before they agreed to have Starbucks look at being able to route vehicles in front of the patio area along Anderson Drive into the main parking lot should traffic become an issue.